Patrick book 1 Risking Love Series
Jaq had no interest in a serious relationship because life at an early age had taught her that men weren’t to be trusted. But she met Patrick who soon had her thinking about risking her heart. For Patrick the time for Jaq dating other men had ended. He wanted her all to himself. But would she stay if she knew the secrets of his past? Patrick wasn’t the only man who wanted Jaq, and the other man was willing to kill to have her. Patrick is the first novel in the Risking Love series. The stories chart a group of friends through life and love. These steamy stories will have you laughing, crying, and have your heart racing.
Callie Carmen: I started in the book business as a bookstore manager which was the perfect place for me since I was an avid reader. After two years, I moved to the corporate office as a buyer and eventually became a senior book buyer. This was a rewarding career that I loved.
Along the way, I decided to become a stay home Mom. I couldn’t give up working around books altogether. I volunteered to run the book fairs in our small farm town, six per year. At the same time, I started and ran, A Child Oasis Company, with the sole purpose of placing a small book library in the homes of all the needy children in the nearby city. As my children became teens, I found I needed more in my personal life than the volunteer Mom for the schools.
I pressed the phone to my ear and spoke softly so the customers in the bookstore wouldn’t be disturbed by my conversation. “Hi, Violet, I’m so glad you called. It’s been so busy lately that we barely get to talk and we need to finalize our plans for later today.”
Forgetting that I was sitting in my open office, I spun around on my chair happy that I was finally getting together with my friends. It made the seat squeak and caused the customers in the cooking section closest to the register to turn to see what was going on. I gave them a little wave then whispered, “We’re still going shopping for me to get a new outfit after my shift ends, right?”
“Of course we are, but you should know that trying to get you on the phone lately has been almost impossible which is why I’m calling you at work. Have you considered that if you weren’t dating four men at once, we’d have more time to hang out together?”
I rubbed the nape of my neck in a soothing motion. “Oooh, burn. I’m not doing anything wrong, Violet. The guys all knew from day one that I was dating others, but it has gotten awkward at times.”
“What does that mean?”
I squeezed my eyes shut and rubbed my brow at the stressful memory of those past dates, sighed and uttered, “Well, I was on a date and ran into one of the other guys I’m seeing.”
Opening my eyes, I looked around the store to make sure no one was paying attention to my conversation. Luckily for me, no one was watching, but I was instantly happy again as I saw a mother and her three little munchkins in the children’s section having a grand time with the story she recited for them. I turned away from their location, and my eyes landed on a couple of regulars.
“Ooh, Violet, those two geeks from the local engineering college are in the science fiction section again.”
“Like you should talk Ms. Star Trek geekazoid.”
“Guilty as charged. Love me some Captain Kirk, and Bones.” We both giggled.
“Enough with the geeks; I want to hear more about your run-in with two men at once.”
“Just last week I was at dinner with a guy when Jaden walked into the restaurant with his friends. He came right over to the table to say hello to me; then he got all possessive and asked me to introduce him to my ‘little’ friend. My date stood up like it didn’t faze him in the least. He put his hand out to shake Jaden’s and told him that it was nice to finally meet him as he’d heard so much about him. Of course, that wasn’t true, but you should have seen the surprised look on Jaden’s face. I just wanted to hide under the table.”
“Better you than me. There’s no freaking way I could deal with that crap.”
At that moment two women from the bestseller section headed for the check-out, both with a couple of books in hand. I stood up and started down the two steps from my mini office to the register.
“Hey, Violet, a couple of shoppers just walked up to the counter; I’ll tell you more when we see each other later. Got to go.”
“Looking forward to it just can’t wait to hear what happened next. See you later.”
Talking with my friend about Jaden reminded me that Jaden and I had been seeing each other for a year now. I’d been grateful that he’d seemed understanding about me dating others, but I wasn’t sure how much longer he’d be willing to do that. I loved being with him but kept my guard up because I didn’t trust him enough to fall completely in love.
My family seemed confident that I didn’t let anyone in because of my past relationship with my father and all of his lies. I thought it was because the right one hadn’t come along yet and there was no reason to rush into something that just didn’t feel right.
Tonight was going to be all about having fun with my friends; especially after my latest disastrous date with a lunatic. I still needed to tell Violet about that one. Thank God, I wouldn’t be going out with another potential crazy tonight. I was putting all the men in my life on hold and enjoying a stress-free evening with my girls.
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Nicholas – book 2 Risking Love
Carlie planned to finish at the top of her class, get a corporate job, and work her way up the ladder. She refused to risk having a life of poverty ever again. Within her plans, there was no room for a relationship. So she had sworn off men; especially the good Dr. Nicolas Antonis.
Nicolas had other plans. They included her becoming his.
As if Nicolas wasn’t a big enough distraction; Carlie had to worry about her roommate’s, abusive ex-boyfriend, coming for her too.
Nicolas is the second novel in the Risking Love series. The stories chart a group of friends through life and love. These steamy stories will have you laughing, crying, and have your heart racing.
“Carlie, I see you eyeing that guy on the dance floor. I thought you swore off men after your ex made you feel like a sex freak for wanting more than the missionary,” Bella teased.
I almost groaned out loud from having to look away from him. “Very funny. Just because my focus is on my studies instead of dating, doesn’t mean I can’t observe and enjoy from afar. Does it?”
“Seriously, you should forget the nonsense your ex put in your head and enjoy a little male companionship. You’re taking this all ‘work and no play’ too far. It’s so depressing for us ladies to watch.” She puffed out her lips and gave me sad eyes.
It made me laugh.
“We all know how important good grades are to you, and God forbid you stray from your two-year success plan. But at least tonight you could lighten up a bit and have some fun. If not for you, do it for your friends.” She patted her chest.
Bella was one of the few friends that knew about the horrible poverty I had grown up in. She understood why my ultimate goal of leaving that world behind was so important. Her heart was in the right place as she once again lectured me on having some fun, but men just didn’t fit into my plans. At least not for the next year or so.
I figured it was best to stop her from worrying about me, and said, “Maybe if the man that dances like a professional dance instructor was interested in applying for the position, I’d change my mind.”
She wrapped her arm around my shoulders and squeezed. “Now you’re talking.”
We both laughed.
“I’ve spotted a Mr. Tall Dark and Handsome I’m going after,” declared Bella. “Later.” She headed off in the direction of a man that our friend Violet had shown interest in when we had first arrived at the club. Violet liked men to come to her, as they almost always did. But it looked like this time she’d waited too long.
I turned back to the dance floor, and to the man I’d been watching. He moved a beautiful woman around like they had been dancing together for years. I hoped that wasn’t the case. Anyone who could move their hips the way he did, and glide a woman around with the ease he did, had to be an amazing lover. I imagined what it would be like to have sex with him and not have to fake an orgasm. My body heated.
Faking it had been required most of the time with my ex. But this man might be worth a bit of my study time. I fanned myself just as he made eye contact with me. I felt a shiver up my spine.
Of course, I shouldn’t have been having such thoughts. Being out with my friends for a bit of fun before diving back into my studies should have been all that concerned me. I’d learned my lesson in junior college that having a boyfriend interfered with my studies. Now, I had straight A’s with just two semesters to go. Thank goodness the transfer credits didn’t affect my GPA. My plan to graduate at the top of the class was definitely in reach. Any distraction could jeopardize that goal.
Yet, as he left the dance floor alone, I couldn’t help but wonder who he’d dance with next.
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Joseph – book 3 Risking Love
Violet had experienced a lot of loss in her life. She wasn’t sure if she could ever trust love again. That was until she fell for Joseph. The problem was he belonged to her friend, Bella. Could Violet risk her friendship over a man? If she did break that friendship, would it destroy her relationship with her closest girlfriends forever?
If Violet risked her heart again and had a night of uncontrolled passion, would he abandon her like the others she had loved? Or would Joseph be her salvation?
I stood on the landing off to the side of the altar as a bridesmaid for my best friend Jaq. I looked over the wedding guests, searching for that one special person I’d desired for over a year. In the second row, behind Jaq’s parents, I saw my friend Bella. Did I dare look to Bella’s left to see if her date, Joseph, had attended the wedding with her? The man I longed to hold, to cherish, and to love from this day forward? Oh, wait, that was Jaq’s line—shame on me.
There were two problems with what I wanted. He didn’t know I was crazy about him, and he belonged to Bella. Well, at least until after the wedding. The other bridesmaid, my friend Carlie, had told me earlier that Bella was breaking up with Joseph after the reception. For a moment I worried about ruining my relationship with Bella, but then I realized I had to follow my heart. It might be my last chance to find out if he had any interest in me. After today I’d probably never see the man again. That thought shot a stabbing pain right to my chest.
If I found the courage to approach Joseph after Bella dumped him, what would my friends think of me? After all, Bella was their friend too.
If at first, they were mad at me, it would be worth it because, deep in my heart, I knew Joseph was my soul mate. I’d never been surer of anything in my life. He’d lost both of his parents too. He would surely understand the loneliness and longing that overwhelm me at times.
Why should I give up the possibility of true love after I’d already lost so much in my lifetime? Didn’t I deserve some happiness?
Shiznit. I hated self-pity—it never got anyone anywhere good.
I turned my gaze to Bella’s left, just as Jaq and Patrick were about to say their vows. My breath caught and time stopped as I looked into Joseph’s eyes and saw him staring back at me. Why was this handsome man looking at me during the most important part of the ceremony? I froze. I couldn’t look away. I watched as his gaze lowered to my lips. It caused an involuntary response— my mouth opened, and I glided my tongue over my upper lip.
He leaned forward and wrapped both hands tightly around the pew in front of him.
My heart began to skip. Every. Other. Beat.
His eyes wandered to my breasts, which were now heaving from the deep breaths I had to take after unconsciously holding my breath for so long. I shifted the flowers from my right hand and placed my hand over my heart. When I saw that his knuckles were turning white from the intense grip on the pew, I darn near forgot where I was and almost went to him.
A hot blush rushed up my body, over my breasts and up my neck, and the warmth of it didn’t stop until it reached the top of my head. I looked back into Joseph’s eyes and the heat there was so overwhelming that I had to look away.
I tried to focus on the beautiful vows that Patrick was saying to Jaq, but all I could do was question what was going on with Joseph. He wasn’t acting like the sexually repressed man who Bella had repeatedly made clear hadn’t even tried to get to third base with her, even though they’d been dating for a little over a year. He was acting like there was no one else in the church except us.
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Anthony – book 4 Risking Love
Tessa seemed to have it all, her father’s fortune, men falling at her feet, and a fairly new but successful business. Secretly, all she longed for was her mother’s hug once more, her heartbroken widowed father acknowledging her existence, and the love of Tony.
Recently divorced, from a selfish, demanding ex-wife, Tony Telesco wanted nothing to do with a rich, spoiled, daddy’s girl like Tessa. Would she be able to convince him she was not as she seemed?
Anthony is the fourth novel in the Risking Love series. The stories chart a group of friends through life and love. These steamy stories will have you laughing, crying, and have your heart racing.
After my business partner went home for the day, I called James, our receptionist, into my office. I prayed he’d help me. “You know that gorgeous friend of yours? The one with the blond hair and blue eyes?”
He stood in my doorway and raised a brow. “You must mean Samuel. Why do you ask?”
I rolled the straw wrapper from lunch that was still on my desk with my fingers. “I need a date for Violet and Joseph’s wedding this weekend.”
“Girl, you know he’s one of my gay friends, right? I thought that you’d been drooling over that hunk of a man, Tony.”
“Yes, and that’s why I need Samuel’s help.” God, I hoped this scheme my friends had concocted didn’t backfire on me.
He put his fists on his hips and looked at me like I was crazy. “Girlfriend, you’re not making any sense. I thought Tony was going to the wedding.”
My chest tightened. “He is, but… the man moves at a snail’s pace.” I crushed the straw paper into a ball and tossed it toward the trash. “He’s interested in me. My friends told me that they could tell by the way he acted and the things he said when he was around me. But he hasn’t made any attempt to ask me out. Joseph and Violet’s wedding would have been the perfect opportunity but he didn’t ask.” I combed my fingers through my hair.
I took a deep breath then huffed it out. “Jaq told us that he hasn’t dated since his divorce over a year ago. That he’s been working hard to make his restaurant successful.”
He swooshed his hand toward me. “He’s done that. So why wouldn’t he go after you?”
I shrugged my shoulders. “Tony told Joseph that he’s taking his time this go around, so he doesn’t make the same mistake he made with his first marriage.”
“Are you telling me that hot man hasn’t had sex for over a year? His balls are going to shrivel up and die. Are you sure he’s straight?” He teased.
“I didn’t say he hadn’t had sex. I’m saying he hasn’t dated anyone.”
He smirked. “And how does Jaq feel about you manipulating her brother? I thought she’d put up a roadblock when she found out because of your boy crazed days in college.”
“Good question. I didn’t get a chance to tell you what happened at dinner last night. My friends forced me to tell her how I felt about her brother.” The look on Jaq’s face had made me queasy. “I told her that I was head over heels crazy about Tony and that was the reason I hadn’t been dating.”
“Drama. You go girl. I want all the dirt.” He plopped down on the seat in front of my desk.
I smiled. I knew how much he loved to gossip. “At first, she accused me of secretly dating her brother and wanted to know why I would do such a thing.”
James slapped the top of my desk. “Oh, this is getting good. What did you say? Did you get angry?”
“I told her I would never do such a thing. Then she stuck out her chin and demanded to know what I was going to do about it.”
He grimaced. “What do you mean?”
I laughed. “That’s what I asked. She told me that he wasn’t a pursuer of women and never had been. He was a driven man who put most of his energy into his dreams of having a successful restaurant, and he was a painfully slow mover when it came to asking a woman out. Then she asked me again, ‘What was I going to do about it?’ At that point, my heart raced.”
Even now it raced from remembering Jaq’s words after I’d asked her if she meant that she was okay with me dating Tony. I leaned forward and steepled my hands.
“She told me that I was a good friend. And, sure, at the beginning of our senior year she’d been worried about my trolling for men. At the time, I had been dealing with my worst daddy-daughter issues.”
“Oh, please. Who hasn’t done some sleeping around in their younger years?”
I made duck lips at him because I knew Jaq hadn’t, but I wasn’t going to tell him that. He’d call my friend names, like prude, and most likely right to her face, and she so wasn’t one.
I melted back on my seat. “Well, it wasn’t my finest period in life. Then she said I was the nicest, smartest, most beautiful woman inside and out that she’d ever known.” My eyes welled up like they had last night at dinner.
James nodded. “Damn straight, you are.”
My heart smiled. “She wants me to date her thick-headed brother.”
“Of course she does. Your outgoing, fiery personality is what that man needs.” So how would having Samuel as your date help you get Tony?”
I leaned forward and took hold of his hand. “You’re not going to believe this, but, according to Jaq, we need to make him jealous enough to get him to ask me out.”
He gave me a devious smile. “Hmm, so Samuel would be the bait that gets Tony to wake up and get moving in on all the fineness that is you. I think you’re all nuts, but I happen to know that Samuel is free this Saturday, because he was going to hang with me until I had to leave for the wedding. I’ll hook the two of you up.”
“You’re the best.”
“I hope this doesn’t backfire on you. You could lose Tony if he doesn’t like being manipulated.”
“We’ll have to make sure he doesn’t find out. I’ve already waited seven months for him to notice me and to make his move. We ladies all think that’s long enough. Don’t you?”
“Yes, and that is why you should have taken all that fineness of yours and moved on to greener pastures. Stop waiting around for this guy. No matter how hot he is, no one’s worth waiting that long for.”
“I would normally agree with you, but there’s so much more to Tony than his good looks. I’m going to give it this one last try. If it doesn’t work, I’ll take your advice and move on. I’ll be heartbroken, but I owe it to myself to find what Jaq, Carlie, and Violet have. True love is out there for me too. I feel it.”
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Links to other posts
Callie Carmen – 2nd interview https://eileentroemel.com/callie-carmen-2/
Callie Carmen – 1st interview https://eileentroemel.com/callie-carmen/